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If it wasn’t clear to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder last week, it should be now: Virginia vehemently opposes the transfer of convicted Bedford County double-murderer Jens Soering back to Germany.
When questioned about the issue by Sixth District Congressman Bob Goodlatte during a congressional committee hearing last week, Holder said he was waiting to see “what the state’s position is going to be.”
You would have thought the attorney general could have read a letter sent to him at the Justice Department by Gov. Bob McDonnell in his first week in office this past January. In that letter, McDonnell revoked the idiotic move by outgoing Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine asking that Soering be transferred to a prison in his native Germany. But apparently Holder missed reading that, as he also apparently missed reading the new Arizona law on illegal immigration that he denounced without actually taking time to read. You would think reading would be a prerequisite for taking that job.
But a second letter has been sent. This time, there should be no misunderstanding and Virginia’s position is spelled out loud and clear. “This is not a federal matter,” McDonnell stated in his letter. “It is important that any consideration of a transfer be officially terminated and that matter be put to rest.”
And now Virginia, Bedford County citizens and law enforcement officials and, most importantly, the victims’ families, await official word from the Justice Department on the matter. Let’s hope it comes soon.
It should have never gotten this far in the first place.
Soering, the son of a German diplomat, is serving two life terms in the 1985 stabbing deaths of Derek and Nancy Haysom at their Boonsboro home in Bedford County. Gov. Kaine, now the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, surprised everyone by his decision — made as he was leaving office — to request the transfer of Soering back to Germany, where he could be eligible for parole in two years. The way the request was made was cowardly; Kaine didn’t even bother to notify the victims’ families or local prosecutors.
And he knows it. The former governor has ducked questions on the matter and failed to explain himself when asked.
But there’s been no such silence from the new administration.
During the congressional hearing, Holder said that the issue does deal with “about the most serious crimes one could imagine” adding that as a prosecutor he had dealt with violent crimes. “This is as serious a case as I’ve seen,” he said. “That would weigh into any decision I would make.”
What could possibly be any reason for actually allowing the request to move forward. The fact that former Gov. Kaine made it? Unless Kaine can provide some overwhelming evidence for requesting the transfer — and we all know he can’t — the decision seems easy.
So why isn’t Holder yet convinced?
He needs to read the letters from the family of the Haysoms that were sent to him opposing the transfer. He needs to read the letters from the Bedford County prosecution team; he needs to read the letter sent to him from 75 members of the Virginia House of Delegates. And he needs to read the two letters sent by Gov. McDonnell.
And if that’s not enough, maybe Holder needs to read the accounts of the brutal murders. If he has any conscience, he’ll put Kaine’s request in the trash where it belongs.